The season finale episode of "NCIS" Season 12 saw the fatal shooting of NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) in the hands of a young boy he befriended in a terrorist attack investigation in Afghanistan. Alongside Gibbs in this dangerous mission were NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) and another FBI Agent. While no scene showed whether or not Gibbs survived the attack in the cliffhanger finale, the spoilers and comments surrounding "NCIS" Season 13 reveal that Harmon's character will be back when the TV series goes back on air on Sept. 22 at 8 pm ET on CBS.
"I don't think anyone thought that was going to be Cliffhanger of the Year, because obviously he's coming back," shared Weatherly with TV Line, referring to the predictability of the NCIS leader's survival and eventual reappearance in "NCIS" Season 13. The actor added, "It's more about how he comes back, how that impacts the team, and what the ramifications are."
In an earlier report, it was revealed that DiNozzo and Gibbs will be facing personality clashes in "NCIS" Season 13. While the entire team will be adjusting to the changes in Gibbs' demeanor, it would be DiNozzo who will be in the receiving end of his harshest comments and toughest orders. Weatherly describes the changes featured in "NCIS" Season 13 as "a fundamental shift" in the way things will be handled following the near-death experience of their fearless leader. Although the actor refused to expound on his statement, he does reassure that viewers that the modifications made by the writers for "NCIS" Season 13 will make the audience "respond with great interest to some of the tonal changes."
Despite the tragedy, the NCIS team will still be in full swing this season. Surprisingly, however, one character will stand out and become the "glue" that will hold the NCIS team together and help them get through the challenging road ahead in "NCIS" Season 13: Jimmy Palmer.
Palmer, played by actor Brian Dietzen, is the assistant of NCIS Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum). In the previous seasons of NCIS, Palmer had been relegated to relatively minor roles. His appearances in the NCIS team meetings had been quite limited as well. With the return of the TV series, however, Palmer finds himself playing a major role in the NCIS team in terms of helping the agents iron out their differences and keeping the peace in the office.
"Jimmy Palmer is some of the glue that keeps the characters together - meaning he's the confidant, he's the friend," shared Dietzen in an interview with TV Guide. He added, "But by the end of the year, his friendships versus his professional obligations are really going to be tested, specifically with DiNozzo. That friendship will be super-tested."
Dietzen's statement corresponds with the earlier reports noting the potential conflicts and tension between Gibbs and DiNozzo in "NCIS" Season13. If the personality exhibited by DiNozzo in the past seasons will be any indication, then it would not be completely surprising to see Gibbs flaring up and lashing out on the agent in "NCIS" Season 13.
Another major shift in "NCIS" Season 13 would be the move to focus on other characters. Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) will reportedly burst out of the box. Initially dubbed as the nerd of the NCIS team, McGee eventually rose to the challenges of the investigations and became a reliable companion in crime scenes. Murray revealed that "NCIS" Season 13 will show him growing towards that direction, saying that the return of the TV series will leave a lot of fans "surprised" by the changes.